Catfish and The Bottlemen

Catfish and The Bottlemen

They’re all grown up, and their fan base has swelled considerably. A good time to be a Bottleman it would seem.

Date: November 10, 2015

Venue: Rock City

It’s been a mixture of ups and downs for Catfish And The Bottlemen since they released their debut album, Balcony, just over a year ago. The ups are very positive indeed, with the album still sniffing around the top 40, while the downs almost saw the band cancel their Glastonbury slot after lead singer Van McCann fell ill, while that same illness meant shows in Australia and Japan had to be cancelled.

Thankfully, tonight’s gig goes to plan, and they play every single song that appeared on their debut, plus new song 7, which is already stadium-ready.

Van is the most gracious of front men, forever rewarding his fans with a gratitude which is in no way contrived or artificial. He’s genuinely appreciative of his fanbase, a fanbase which has grown and grown thanks to their insanely catchy modern indiepop tunes. If that sounds twee, it’s not. Van’s men dress all in black. They’re like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the wrong speed, a caliginous Cribs or a lycanthropic Libertines.

Van’s roar is, at times, staggering. He almost consumes the mic as he strains for the abrasive growls, his cropped mop of dark hair tumbling into his eyes.

When he’s not saturating his mic in saliva, he’s bouncing around the stage like Bobby Gillespie on a sugar rush, and the crowd love it, clapping joyfully and singing every word.

The signs that warn of no crowd surfing might as well read: “Hell yeah, crowd surf”, as countless flailing limbs are tossed upwards and over a sea of heads.

From the opening vibrancy of Rango, to the pounding, foundation-bothering Pacifier onto the whirring underbelly of Kathleen to the quiet-then-loud crowd pleaser of Homesick and the acoustic Hourglass, they are faultless.

Cocoon and Tyrants ensure that these Bottlemen deliver an assured, mature set of classic, unadulterated full-fat indie.

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